Hashtag basics: Why they work, and why they fail

Still unclear about how or why to use the # sign in a tweet? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

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Hashtags are the letters that follow the # sign in a tweet and are, according to Twitter, “used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet.” Twitter users—not the inventors of the social network—created the hashtag.

But hashtags aren’t appropriate for every tweet. It’s important to know when to use one, and how to treat a hashtag.

Five reasons hashtags work:

1. Categorizing content. Hashtags enable users to categorize their tweets into a specific topic, making it easier for other users to find. This tool is great for someone posting a series of tweets discussing the same topic.

2. Interacting with personality. Hashtags can take a routine tweet and add some life to it by adding it to a list of related tweets.

3. Promoting events. Hashtags make it possible to monitor tweets during a webinar or conference, adding value to the experience. This option enables participants to ask questions and comment before, during, and after the event, and to see what others have on their minds.

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